CONCACAF Champions League group play continued last night, with several MLS teams involved. The Montreal Impact and San Jose Earthquakes faced off in Group 5 action, with Sporting Kansas City hosted Real Esteli. With the LA Galaxy in action tonight taking on Metapan, four of the five MLS teams involved in this competition have been in action this match day.
Starting with Group 5, the Earthquakes absolutely dismantled the Impact with a 3-0 victory. The Bay Area papers are saying this keeps San Jose alive, while the Canadian media admits the results pushes the Impact to the brink of elimination. In reality, both teams are on the outside looking in but with a home match against group leading Heredia to go.
The goal differential is what looks bad for the Impact, and although the tiebreakers in Champions League are complicated the only way Montreal can even be considered is with a three way tie. Unfortunately, San Jose needs to win to force a three way tie, and since the Earthquakes currently have a +1 goal differential any victory over Heredia can result in San Jose advancing to the next round.
Sporting Kansas City managed an 0-2 victory on the road at Esteli the first time around, but only managed a 1-1 draw in the return leg. It had to come from behind to get that point, avoiding a nightmare scenario and remaining on top of Group 2 with one match left.
Tonight is LA's last home match before doing the road tour through Cartagines and Metapan. Cartagines currently lead the group with four points from three matches (they won 4-2 at Metapan), but LA can take back the group lead with a victory. If the Galaxy do get three points tonight Metapan would be eliminated, and a draw at Cartagines next week would give LA the group.
They'll have to get the result without Landon Donovan and A.J. DeLaGarza who have been ruled out for the CCL match. DeLaGarza's injury is more serious than Donovans who should be back by the weekend. Still, it's likely we'll see a mix of starters and reserves tonight and not a full house money lineup. This result making the road legs easier is reason to take the match somewhat seriously, although only having two rest days until the Sounder match means key starters may need to be rested.
Which for LA probably means no Robbie Keane as well as no Landon Donovan. Not having a veteran forward to bring off the bench anymore becomes an issue, as the young forwards haven't performed well this year when paired with each other. They need a vet to take them under their wing.